Quick Facts




Deficits and Disparities
in the Health of Detroit's Children

Children of Detroit, and especially African American children, evidence extraordinarily high levels of low birth weight, infant mortality, high lead levels, sexually transmitted diseases, violence and substance

13.1% of live births in Detroit in 2008 are low birth weight births (less than 2,500 grams). In 2006, Detroit had the highest low birth weight rate among 56 US cities (average rate was 8.3%). **

15.1% of live births in Detroit are pre-term (gestational age less than 37 completed weeks). In 2006, Detroit had the highest pre-term birth rate among 50 US cities (average rate was 12.8%).**

14.0 infants per thousand live births in Detroit died before their first year of life (average annual rate, 2006-2008).* In 2007, the infant mortality rate for all Michigan children was 7.9 per 1,000 (5.6 for white and 14.9 for black).*

100.7 children age 1-17 years per 100,000 in Detroit died of all causes in 2006-2008. In 2007, in the US, 19 children age 1-17 per 100,000 died from all causes.**

3.1% of children less than 6 years living in Detroit in 2007-2009 who were tested for lead levels had elevated levels. This represents 1,048 children with elevated lead levels. *

In 2009, Wayne County accounted for 43.5% (20,978 cases) of the state's reported cases of chlamydia, 54.1% (8,402 cases) of the cases of gonorrhea and 56.7% (127 cases) of primary and secondary syphilis.* The high incidence of these STD's denotes risk taking behaviors associated with high incidence of HIV infection.

The 2009 Youth Behavioral Risk Survey of 1,457 Detroit youth grades 9-12 reports health behaviors, perceived risks and health status. Detroit children, when compared to a national sample, were more likely to have carried a gun to school (7.6% to 5.6%), been in a physical fight (25.4% to 11.1%), and felt unsafe at school (19.1% to 5.0%); to have become sexually active before age 13 (18.2% to 7.4%) and to have had four or more sexual partners (26.0% to 14.4%); and, to be obese >= 95th percentile (20.8% to 12.0%).***

Barriers to Care in Detroit

Barriers to care are evidenced by inadequate prenatal care, high rates of teen pregnancy, delayed immunizations and inadequate screening for lead levels.

9.4% of births in Detroit in 2006-2008 were to mothers who received late or no prenatal care. Detroit was ranked 43 of 47 US cities; the 47-city average was 4.9%.**

19.7% of births in Detroit in 2006-2008 were to teens. Detroit was ranked 45 of 50 US cities; the 50-city average was 12.1%.**

In Detroit, in 2005, the National Immunization Survey (NIS) *** reports 70.6% of preschool children (19-35 months) were up to date on the 4:3:1:3:3:1immunization schedule. Only four states (Louisiana, Nevada, Oregon and Washington) and four municipalities (Chicago, New York, Clark Co. Nevada, and El Paso) reported by the CDC have lower rates of coverage than Detroit. In contrast, 89.6% of preschool children in Michigan were up to date. Interestingly, the Michigan Childhood Immunization Registry (MCIR, a registry populated by providers while the NIS is a survey of individuals confirmed by contacting identified practitioners and reviewing their medical records), reports that only 42.8% of Detroit children 19-35 months old have received the 4:3:1:3:3:1 schedule of immunizations.* The difference between the NIS and MCIR rates is probably due to under-reportage of immunizations by providers to MCIR.

40% of children less than six years of age residing in Detroit has been tested for lead levels. Of those tested, 3.1% (1,048) had elevated levels. If all 68,332 children of this age had been tested and the percent elevated lead levels were the same as those already tested, then 2,118 children would have elevated levels. Inadequate screening for lead may be leaving 1,070 of Detroit children untreated for elevated levels.

In Detroit, during 2007, 151.1 patients under 18 years of age per 10,000 population were admitted for a preventable hospitalization diagnosis (asthma, bacterial pneumonia, convulsions, etc.). In Michigan in 2007, there were 97.5 preventable hospitalizations per 10,000 among children.

Accessing Child Health Services in Detroit

Barriers to accessing child health services in Detroit include a shortage of primary care physicians, poverty, insurance, social isolation, and inadequate transportation services.

In Detroit, in 2005 the American Board of Medical Specialties (2005) reports that there are 204 licensed Pediatricians and 69 Family Practitioners. With 305,016 children less than 18 years old residing in Detroit in 2000 that results in approximately one provider for every 1,117 children. In contrast, in Michigan in 2005 there were 2,589 licensed pediatricians and 2,978 family practitioners serving 2,494,549 children < 18 years of age (a ratio of one provider to every 448 children).

In Detroit, poverty has increased significantly since 2000. Overall poverty in Detroit was 26.1% in 2000 and had increased to 33.6% by 2004, the highest of any city in the country.

In Detroit, in 2000, 34.3% of families with related children under 18 years lived in poverty. Female-headed households with children had higher levels of poverty (<18 years, 39.5%; <5 years, 48.6%). In contrast, in the US, 13.6% of families with children less than 18 years lived in poverty and those with children less than five years, 17.0%.

In Detroit, in 2000, 56.1% of families were female headed without a husband; in the US 12.2% of families were female headed without a husband.

In Detroit, in 2000, of the 15,909 births 75.8% were enrolled in WIC and in 2004 62.2% were enrolled in Medicaid at the time of birth. In comparison, in Michigan in 2000, 43% of infants were enrolled in WIC and 39% in Medicaid.



Sources: * Michigan Department of Community Health, ** Annie E Casey Foundation Kids Count, *** Centers for Disease Control, US Census Bureau (last updated April 2006)

This DKD Profile is produced by www.detroitkidsdata.org ©2007
Wayne State University